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"King Kong" director campaigns to save wild gorillas

Ape of Good Hope

The original 1933 King Kong gave gorillas a bad rep and inspired an upsurge in gorilla hunting, but the director of the 2005 remake hopes to use his blockbuster's appeal to help keep the apes from going extinct. Peter Jackson is backing efforts by the International Gorilla Conservation Program to save Kong's smaller and less terrifying prototypes. Jackson's contributions include charity premieres of the film, which have raised $100,000, and plans for the King Kong DVD to include a documentary film about the mountain gorilla of central Africa. "Gorillas are truly amazing animals -- without them there wouldn't be entertainment like King Kong," says Jackson. Um ... true. Another good reason to protect gorillas is that all wild ones are considered endangered, some species critically so. Mountain gorillas could die out within the next few decades, scientists say.